Family Christmas Session in Forest Hill, MD


“You must be Michael” I said to the smiling man who had answered my knock on the door. He welcomed me inside and I was greeted by the sweet smell of pie. His wife, Alison, was upstairs with her children, all grown, and all under the same roof again. An early Thanksgiving dinner had brought them all into town. Their children, Maura, Kayla, and Sean, had reached out to me to plan a portrait session as a Christmas gift to their parents. Now that the day of our session had arrived, I walked around the house and looked at all of the adorable childhood photos taken years before the ones I would take today. 

This house has been home to the Donnelly family for 17 years, but their family began years earlier when Michael met Alison at church. Their love for God introduced them to one another, led them to marriage, and brought three beautiful children into their lives. Watching the five of them interact with one another made me think, “this is how families ought to be.” I loved watching them joke with one another as we braved the cold, windy weather, and I admired how joy shines through all of them. As if my heart wasn’t already warmed enough just from being in their presence, they sent me home with a warm, sweet cup of almond tea and a granola bar for the road. Thoughtfulness like that flows from loving hearts, and Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Luke came to my mind: “…out of the abundance of the heart [a man’s] mouth speaks.” 

Donnelly family, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you. You are all so warm and joyful, making spending time with you easy and fun! I never imagined that I would enjoy walking around half-frozen in a soybean field, but I did! It was my honor to capture these images for you, and I hope you’ll love them long after the cold fades to spring. Merry Christmas to you all!